This post shows copywriting for beginners tips and secrets to help you get started as a new copywriter.
Copywriting has become one of the most in-demand skills today and a copywriter can make up to and more than $100k in one year.
Why is this?
Because all businesses can benefit greatly from having a good copywriter.
From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies and others in between.
Copywriting can make or break an organization.
If you see any advertisement both online and offline, sales pages and all, are all products of copywriting.
No business can escape having a mediocre copy.
That’s the reason all businesses, even non-profit organizations need copywriters.
And the thing is,
Anybody can become a copywriter. You don’t need a degree or any special training to become one.
So, whether you are looking to become a copywriter, or are just looking to improve your copy for your business, this guide will be your blueprint for getting started with copywriting.
What is copywriting for beginners?
Copywriting simply means writing words for marketing purposes. Its main purpose is to sell your product and services while establishing a voice for your brand.
The aim of copywriting is to persuade the reader to take a specific action. Whether it is buy something, make a phone call, sign up for a newsletter, or any other type of conversion.
There are many different forms of copywriting, like adverts, website pages, brochures, white papers, content for social media, company billboards and taglines would fall under copywriting, and that’s only scratching the surface.
But you must know that copywriting is more than just words. Awesome copy tells a compelling story and represents your brand image. It tugs at the heartstrings of the reader and triggers the decision-making process for the reader.
Copywriting sells products and services, but that’s just the surface. The underneath function of copy is to sell to your emotions and lifestyle.
The global interest in copywriting is right now at an all-time high.
Check out the image below and see what I mean.
Copywriting for the past 12 years has not dwindled a bit. This is because businesses know the immense value copywriting and copywriters bring to their businesses.
Look at the Google trend image below and notice how steady the demand for copywriting has been for the past 12 months.
And if you look at it closely, you will notice that the interest in copywriting is steadily on the rise.
This is why it is very important to master your copywriting for beginners skills today more than ever.
10 Elements of great copywriting for beginners
Now, what makes your copy great? As someone who has been writing copy for over seven years now, I know what it takes to succeed in this space.
There are some elements that can take an average copy to the next level where it brings in loads of new customers.
As a beginner, these are the top elements of great copywriting for beginners you should be focusing on right now.
1. Grammatically sound
There’s nothing that kills a copy more than grammatical errors. It makes your copy look amateurish and weak. This can make your reader lose interest and not trust your copy.
When your readers find any error in your copy, it gives them a negative perception of your brand, product, or service.
But no one is perfect. And if you write lots of copy, at least 2000 words, there’s bound to be one or two mistakes. That’s forgivable. But a spelling error on your homepage or email that is just a few lines will be much more pronounced.
Therefore, you should ignore the urge to rush through this process. Get an editing software and run your text through it to pinpoint areas where you might have misspelled some words. Read it out loud. Double and triple-check it before it goes out.
You can use Grammarly to automatically check your copy. It underlines bad grammar in your copy so it is much easier to see the error and fix it.
If you use Google Docs, in the menu section, under tools, click on Spelling and Grammer and it will scan through your copy and show you areas where you need to make corrections.
But, if you are writing a sales page, where you may have to use lingo and slang, you can ignore some corrections from Grammarly.
Great copy should be persuasive. You should write in a way that convinces the reader to take a specific action.
Tell them why they should sign up for your newsletter or buy your product or service.
You have to understand that you are not selling a particular product or service, you are selling how the product will benefit the reader. For instance, you are not selling life insurance, you are selling protection. You are not selling a Rolex watch, you are selling a lifestyle. Locate the emotions you are trying to trigger from your reader and find the right words that will spark those feelings to get the most out of your copy.
This is a bit different when it comes to the type of copy you are writing.
If you are writing a blog post, no jargon. But if you are writing a direct response sales copy to a particular niche, let’s assume you are writing to the technology industry where they use some language that the layman might not understand, you can use it.
This shows you know the audience in-depth.
But if you are writing to the public, meaning anybody can read your copy, then leave industry-specific terms out of your copy.
If you are a lawyer and your copy is tailored to the public, someone without any legal training should be able to understand what you are talking about. If you are a doctor, ensure your copy can be understood by people outside of the medical field.
Avoid slang and acronyms when writing to the public. It is normally perceived as unprofessional (Unless it is part of your brand image and tailored only to the audience of that industry), and you really cannot assume everyone is familiar with the acronyms you are using.
Great copywriters are notorious for being able to take a complex subject and write it in a way a fifth grader will understand.
4. Strong Call-To-Action (CTA)
Talking about your brand, product or service is only half the battle. You also have to leave your audience with a clear direction of action.
What do you want your copy to achieve? It should be clear to whoever is reading it.
If the aim of the copy is to get people to buy something, make sure the message has been conveyed. Your readers should not be left wondering what to do.
Write a strong CTA that drives conversion.
5. SEO Friendly
This particular element is mainly for website copy.
It’s important to write copy that is SEO-friendly. Use keywords that will make your pages rank high in search engine page results.
There are many factors that go into creating high-ranking content; keywords are just one of them. And while SEO-friendly content is good, it won’t really make or break your business.
Therefore, don’t force your keywords if it will only hurt your copy.
Great copy goes straight to the point and does not beat around the bush. You should be able to relay your message in a concise manner; using as few words as possible.
Use short sentences, short paragraphs, simple words and avoid “fluff” or “filler” phrasing.
Learn how to write copy that goes straight to the point. if you use long sentences, it’s easier for the reader to get distracted and lost when reading.
Like I mentioned earlier, there are some exceptions to using Grammarly to edit your copy if you are being direct. For example, you can write three one-word sentences in a row…
7. Captivating lead
Great copy usually starts with a captivating lead. Whether it is a headline, subheader, email subject line, or introductory phrases. Whatever your lead is, you need to find a way to capture the attention of your readers.
Use action words that capture people’s attention. You could start by using a number, an enticing fact or you could state statistics.
There is an adage copywriters follow that says that the function of the headline is to get the reader to read the first line. The purpose of the first line is to get the reader to read the second line. You get the point.
This means if your lead does not captivate your reader, the rest of your copy will be useless.
8. Channel specific
Whatever copy you choose to write, make sure you write it with an understanding of how it will be consumed.
Always be aware of the distribution channel of what you are writing and adjust accordingly.
9. Audience awareness
You MUST have a clear understanding of who will be reading your copy.
A person on your homepage may not be familiar with your brand.
But an email subscriber already knows who you are.
So you won’t necessarily have to introduce yourself and share your brand story in every email campaign.
That’s a waste of valuable text, and the repetitive nature can quickly lose the attention of your audience.
Create a copy that’s appealing to your specific niche.
Don’t try to target everyone.
A business that sells surfboards and skateboards doesn’t have the same audience as a B2B selling enterprise SaaS.
Know the difference.
10. Concise understanding of the offering
It’s a common mistake for beginner copywriters to dive directly into the writing process.
But you shouldn’t start writing a single word until you have a firm grasp of the product, service, brand, or offer.
Let’s say get hired by a business to create landing page copy.
Depending on the complexity of the offering, it could take you hours or days before you would even consider writing anything.
If you don’t have a clear understanding of the offer, it’s impossible for you to convey that message to another person.
Trust me, I know this and it is frustrating.
And even if you manage to write something without knowing who you are writing to, that copy will flop massively.
10 Copywriting for beginners formulas
If you are a beginner copywriter, there are some formulas you can use to get you through the process.
Use this copywriting for beginners formulas as a quick template or cheat sheet.
1. FAB Formula
This is one of the most basic copywriting strategies that you can follow. Instead of only listing the features of the product or service, you need to find ways to highlight the end results and take away the user will get.
- Features — What are you offering?
- Advantages — How does it help solve a problem or make things better?
- Benefits — What does the reader get out of this?
The FAB formula is perfect for copy related to products or services.
2. BAB Formula
The BAB formula is ideal for storytelling. It’s designed to identify pain points being felt by the reader.
- Before — This is what your life is like now.
- After — This is how you’ll feel once the problem has been solved.
- Bridge — This is how you get there.
We saw some copy earlier in this guide from Basecamp as a “good example” that follows the BAB formula.
3. The 4 P’s Formula
- Picture — Grab the reader’s attention by painting a picture that creates desire.
- Promise — Explain how the offering delivers that desire.
- Prove — Use evidence to support that promise.
- Push — Convince the reader to commit.
The 4 P’s formula takes a unique approach to conversions. This type of copy gets the reader to commit by proving that you can deliver a promise.
4. The 4 U’s Formula
- Useful — How can you help the reader?
- Urgent — Create a sense of urgency.
- Unique — Explain how the benefits can’t be found elsewhere.
- Ultra-specific — Don’t be vague.
The 4 U’s formula works well for advertisements or social media copy. Find ways to create a sense of urgency, like FOMO, as an emotional trigger that gets the reader to act quickly.
5. The 4 C’s Formula
- Clear — Make sure your copy is as clear as possible.
- Concise — Keep it short and to the point.
- Compelling — Spark some interest and grab the attention in an irresistible way.
- Credible — Explain why the reader should trust your product, service, or brand.
These are just general best practices that should be followed with all of your copy. Regardless of the length, goal, or distribution channel, the 4 C’s are ideal for beginners to prioritize.
6. ACCA Formula
- Awareness — Identify the problem or situation at hand.
- Comprehension — Explain how the problem affects the reader.
- Conviction — Persuade the reader to follow your solution.
- Action — End with a strong call-to-action.
Compared to the other formulas on our list, the ACCA formula is different because of the “comprehension” phase. It’s your job to give the reader a deeper understanding of the problem and solution. Tell people what’s happening and how it affects them before diving into the CTA.
7. “So What?” Formula
The idea behind this formula is simple. Every time you make a statement, ask yourself, “so what?” This forces you to explain the benefits in greater detail.
Our agency creates the best website content!
So we can help you generate more traffic, drive conversions, and rank higher in SERPs.
The first part of that copy isn’t useful without the “so what” aspect.
8. OATH Formula
The OATH formula forces you to write copy that’s audience-specific. It can help you write unique copy based on the reader’s market awareness of your brand, product, or service.
- Oblivious — The reader has no clue about your brand or offer.
- Apathetic — They are aware of you but uninterested or indifferent.
- Thinking — The reader has identified a potential need.
- Hurting — They have a problem that desperately needs to be solved.
As you can see, the copy should be written differently depending on which stage of OATH you’re trying to target.
9. PAS Formula
- Problem — Identify the problem at hand.
- Agitate — Explain the negative impact of having this problem.
- Solve — Offer a solution.
The PAS formula goes beyond just identifying a problem. It invokes fear in the reader by explaining what could happen to them if the problem isn’t solved.
10. The “Objections” Formula
Write copy that addresses common objections a reader could have with your offering.
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Copywriting for beginners: tips for improvement
The best way to improve your copywriting skills is to practice. Every single copy you write will not be the best but with time, you will get better.
In your copy, be conversational. Write as you talk. Spend more time researching and planning than you do writing.
Also, look at great copywriting for beginners and take note of the elements.
And if you are still struggling, you can use any of the copywriting for beginners formulas above to guide you through the process.